Monday, May 23, 2016

Maintaining is Key

Does a new PR make or break a race for you? Are you only happy with your race if you come in at a certain time? We will both admit that "yes", we generally have a certain time frame that we would like to finish our races in but the emphasis is not on a PR. Let's face it, we aren't elites so what is this new PR going to do for us?   I know that sounds like a cop out excuse, right?  But listen, over the past year or so we've been reading about people being disappointed in themselves because they haven't reached a certain time in a race. But yet they finished some amazing races in amazing time frames and that should be what gets celebrated!


We all run for different reasons.  My sister and I run because we like to go to races. We like hanging out with runner friends, the challenge of the course, and of course celebrating an accomplishment no matter what the finish time. I think this is why we've never been disappointed in a race. Even when my sister had to walk some of the Disney races because of her injury, she wasn't disappointed in her time and still finished with a smile!

Just because we are not aiming for PR's doesn't mean that we are not training properly. We both know that we need to keep training so we can stay injury free and at least "maintain" our running times. I think that's the key with enjoying running. Find a pace that you are comfortable with and then just try to maintain it. I think that's one things that makes me a pretty consistent runner.  Not every race is going to be a PR and I definitely realize that AND I realize that my PR may stay where it is and that's okay. I know what my body is capable of and I'm okay with that.  As of right now, we have both  already reached some great time goals that we've set and that's good enough for us.  I think my PR days are over but if I happen to squeeze one it, that's great too, but  we're not going to be worrying about numbers during our races, we want to do them for fun. Now when I say fun, that still means we are going to try our best, but it means that we will be happy no matter what the time says on the finish clock.  -L

Are you content or do you still have a goal you are reaching for?

We will be linking up with the gals from TOTR.

58 comments:

  1. Like you, I'm in it for fun these days. My cup runneth over with where running has taken me both physically and mentally. A PR is just one tiny aspect of all running has to offer. Fast or slow, it's all joyful to me. : )

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    1. You are exactly right! We've done our "goal" races an for the most part hit our "goal" times. From here on out its about fun and being "comfortable"...lol

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  2. I think this is a really important thing to highlight. I have heard some people mention that you are not a "real" runner if you are not aiming for something, or have a goal. Some people are just happy the way they are.

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    1. Yes, I think that stigma is still out there. I think we are both good enough runners. We're just not going to be winning any races an that's okay!

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  3. Like you said, not every race is meant to be a PR race. Whatever the reason - because your focus is elsewhere, you've been sick, you're running with somebody else, or you simply want to have fun - there's no reason why every race has to be run with the goal of getting a PR. Heck, that would likely lead to burnout if that was your goal for every single race.

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    1. I think some runners have a hard time admitting that they may have reached their threshold! However, there is definitely nothing wrong with pushing yourself if you feel your body can handle it an if you're not going to be upset if you don't PR.

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  4. I definitely think there are "seasons" to running and I honestly can NOT be in PR shape 365 days a year. So I do a fair amount of running just for fun and don't even really race a lot. But when I train for a PR and feel like I have done the work to achieve it, I do get sad. The last THREE races I ran I had a time goal and I did not reach it. Even though I did well, I didn't do what I felt I was capable of so I was disappointed. I just like to push myself and see what I am capable of.

    That being said, PRs are not the end all and be all to my running. I LOVE TO RUN and it enhances my life in ways nowhere near associated to PR'ing.

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    1. Exactly! I always say I run bc I love it, not to always reach a PR.

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  5. How timely is this?

    I don't regret my races, and I know they can't all be PRs. but I always have a goal (several), I always try my best to train well, so yes, I am disappointed when I don't meet my goals -- especially when it's mostly due to circumstances beyond my control.

    But I still don't regret the race, and I finished with a smile and a sprint. :)

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    1. I try to always finish w a smile as well. Some races are harder than others to finish w that though. Some are just a sense of relief that you are done.

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  6. Absolutely, not every race can be a PR! I generally pick a couple races through the year that I intend to do for time. But the rest of them have different goals. Sometimes they're to run with a friend, as part of a training run, just to enjoy the scenery, etc. It helps that most of the Maryland races I do are hilly so I know they're not going to be PRs and that helps let go of the pressure and just concentrate on the non-time goal for that race.

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    1. Yes, I always know that races with hills are never going to be a PR for me either. Just enjoy the course.

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  7. I've given up carrying about PR's or basically time :) haha ... I honestly am just thrilled to cross a finish line. Period.
    I know those people that freak out if they are off a few seconds of their time. I aint got time for all that worry.

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    1. A few seconds. Like it really matters, right?

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  8. Yes! You have a great attitude. I'm pretty sure I'm going to set some "PWs" this year as I get back in shape post Baby #2, but I still love doing races. I really enjoy the camaraderie and it helps me to have a goal to keep motivated & dedicated to train. I have a dream that I have one last set of PRs in me in the next 5 years, but we'll see...

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    1. PRs are always great to get. But when we don't reach them we just can't be disappointed in ourselves. So many races, so little PRs

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  9. I love this outlook!! Yes, I'm happy with my current PR but I would like to at least stay somewhere near that time and not go backwards. Of course, I'm having to work my way back up there due to my recent hiatus from pregnancy but I'll get there!

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    1. I agree. As long as I don't go backwards I'm good.

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  10. I didn't realize my PR days would be over so quickly; I should have enjoyed them more, LOL! But injuries and age mean that I'm just glad to still be able to run; you get what you get in life, so I can't complain, and I don't think those who gripe about not getting a PR or AG award in every race don't know how lucky they are.

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    1. Just being able to run we all should be grateful for. Regardless if we reach a PR or not.

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  11. Great insight!

    Personally, my goal is always to run the entire race. But for my fiancé, he goes in expecting to beat his time, and when it doesn't happen, he gets pretty upset about it.

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    1. I used to be like that. Until I realize that every race is not going to be a PR and I'm ok with that.

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  12. I have a half marathon goal but won't get to reach it till next fall/winter b/c there are no more races around here this time of year!

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  13. Oh my! So much truth, and I needed this reminder. I'm so hard on myself. I've run nearly 60 half marathons and the majority have been under 2 hours, but the last half dozen (run since October last year) have been over 2 hours, and I'm struggling with this. I just ran one yesterday, and that one for a good cause even, but my time was probably my slowest EVER and it's hard to get past those numbers. I'm really working to shift my mindset. I tell others "if you keep setting PRs you'd eventually be running with the Kenyans, and we know that's not gonna happen!" lol, but it's still hard for me to give myself grace in this same area. good post on this subject. Happy Running!

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    1. I always say we are our own biggest critique.So just accepting ourselves no matter what time we get is hard to do sometimes.

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  14. Eh I agree and disagree. I have goal time races and fun races. When I'm training for a big PR I'm usually doing some hard training so I want it to pay off. Of course there are extenuating circumstances but I love to push myself just to the breaking point and see how that corresponds on the clock.

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    1. It is frustrating when you do put in the hard work and the outcome does not show it.

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  15. i always try to keep the mentality that i'm doing this (running) because i love it and am fortunate and blessed to be healthy and able to run, and i never want to turn it into something i feel obligated to do or something that upsets me or puts me in a negative space. as for races, i generally set the goal of not walking at all and pushing myself to keep moving regardless of what happens, and i'll usually have some sort of goal in mind (sub 1:55 for a half, around 4 hours for a full, etc) but to be honest, i always set goals i know are probably attainable and never push myself to the breaking point to achieve something. i don't want to get to the place where i stop enjoying it! but i think it's such a personal thing. glad you're enjoying it and giving yourself that space to have fun!

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    1. Setting attainable goals is always good. That way you can never be disappointed in yourself.

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  16. Couldn't agree with you more on this! Nicely put!
    I've come across a few runners through the years who get so upset about not hitting a goal, and claim it ruined their entire race. I feel sad for them. I think some disappointment is completely normal. But saying it ruined the entire race and all enjoyment of it was lost because of it, well that's just sad! I feel I can say that because I am a competitive person, even if it's mostly competition with my own self. I love to do my best, but I've had some pretty crummy races that didn't go anywhere near as planned, and oddly they are some of my best memories because they are the ones that taught me what I was made of, or what I can do and achieve even when the stars aren't lined up that day for me. There is good even in bad even if at times we have to look hard to find it!

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    1. As much as it stinks to have some hard races, we always learn from our experiences.

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  17. I run the majority of my races without aiming for a PR. But when I do aim for one, I feel really disappointed if I miss it, especially if I put the work in and truly feel I EARNED it, but things outside of my control got in the way!

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  18. I gave up PRs a log time ago. I push myself in races more than in training runs, so I figure I get a great workout if I come in 15 minutes faster or slower than the last time, so it doesn't really make much difference.

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  19. I'm in it for fun- but I've also got to move out of the "way too much fun" category and push myself a bit more. That's my goal this summer. It's not PR levels of pushing, just work the effort level more type pushing.

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  20. This whole PR thing is something we talk about a lot in our running group. People can invest so much emotional energy into it and it doesn't mean you didn't train or work hard if you don't achieve it.

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  21. Most of my runs are for fun. The biggest benefits I get is my go-to stress release, and my health. I found when I was putting pressure on myself to get a certain time, I wasn't having as much fun. Now I just run.

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  22. I think I'm always looking to reach some kind of goal whether I want to admit it or not. I think the main reason is that I used to be much faster before my stress fracture injury 3 years ago, and I've been trying to get back to that place. Finally I think I'm getting closer, but I don't really aim for PR's when I race...I try to eliminate as much thinking as possible because it really messes with me!

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  23. While I don't want a PR, I do just work with a goal in mind, even if it's sometimes just to finish! I have lessened the pressure on myself since getting older and just try to keep injury free and keep in mind the reason why I run: to enjoy it. But goals are always good to get the motivation going!

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    1. I'm the same way. As I get older my goal is to just run injury free. I usually have some sort of goal I want to hit during a race but the "time" is never the end all goal.

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  24. I think I was all about PRing all the time in the beginning because I COULD PR all the time as my fitness was constantly improving. Nowadays, I try to choose one or two goal races a year in varying distanes and aim for that. At the others, I pick a few safe goals and see how I feel the day of. I still like the challenge of reaching for a goal, but the stakes are a lot lower so if I bomb, it's ok. ;)

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    1. I always set my goals low so I am not disappointed in myself...haha.

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  25. Usually, I'm not overly focused on a PR but when I do set my mind and training toward a PR goal, I'm a little disappointed when it doesn't happen. But then I just look toward the next race!

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    1. Same here. It's like something you have to prove to yourself that you can do next time.

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  26. Love this post! At the end of the day, I run because it's fun - and sometimes I get so focused on goals that it starts feeling burdensome. I have to keep reminding myself to keep it fun, otherwise I won't want to do it anymore. And to me, the most important thing is to just keep going. We all get the same finisher's medal for a reason, right?

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    1. Exactly. We do it bc it's fun. I always say the first and the last person always get the same medal. So why beat yourself up over a time.

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  27. This is very well said. While I do set goal races for myself, the biggest thing I want to take away is that I tried my hardest, had fun and enjoyed the experience. I don't ever want to be so focused on a PR that running isn't fun anymore. I think it's important to set other small goals during a race other than time, like I want to finish with a smile, injury free or feel great enough to kick at the end.

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    1. Finishing injury free is always a plus. I always try to push it at the end to no matter how miserable I may feel inside I do don't want to show it on the outside.

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  28. Honestly, I almost always have a goal. It may not be a PR, but I'm usually aiming for something, mostly because I love it as an accurate representation of my training. Recently though my last HM didn't go as planned, and for the first time in my racing career I brushed it right off. I wasn't upset at all. And that was a real breakthrough for me!

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  29. I think if I was completely injury free, I would probably try harder for PRs. But right now, I'm just running for fun since I don't want to hate running bc of injury. That's why I keep running runD races. Friends and fun, and it keeps me moving!

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    1. Run Disney always helps w that.....Running just for fun.

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  30. Love this post. I think, personally, I'm more interested in covering distance and miles. Many races are training runs for me. In my professional opinion, I think it's hard to PR at every race. There is too much variation to run your best every time. Besides, I don't know that one should try to PR every time, especially if you race a lot. Using races as part of training is really important and prioritizing them appropriately is really helpful in reaching larger goals. But having different time goals, like "A" and "B" goals can also help with preventing disappointment if you don't PR every time.

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    1. Great way to look at it. I know I will not PR at every race but using it as a training run for an upcoming race is a great idea.

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  31. I try to set realistic goals at my races, but most times those are not PRs.

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    1. Setting realistic goals is what everyone should aim for. You can't be disappointed in yourself finishing a race with a goal that is unattainable.

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  32. I agree, 100%.

    I've fallen victim to the "must PR every race" thought cycle. But yeah, I'm not elite. A PR is cool and all, and a major sense of accomplishment, but so what if you don't get it? Running should be fun.

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  33. I always try to set a realistic time frame for myself. I have never aimed for a specific time or pace since a 10K I did a few years ago.
    My realistic time frame has been off a few times recently, so sometimes i do feel a little disappointed during a race, but I always feel better by the finish line :)
    I need to let go of time with how my feet are now, and just try to enjoy myself when I run.

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.